It’s not often that you get off of a work call and do a little happy dance around your office, but that’s exactly what I did a few months ago after hanging up with Ryan Temple at Sustainable Northwest Wood. We had been talking about oak conservation, the Oak Accord, and the work that Sustainable Northwest Wood does in managing their supply chain of oak to ensure it comes from well-managed forests and from ecosystem restoration projects. Ryan enthusiastically spoke about his organization’s mission and how he thought it was important to give back to the oak forests from which they source their products. He was excited to learn about the Oak Accord and how it is connected to on-the-ground restoration. That’s when he proposed that Sustainable Northwest Wood donate 10% of their profits from Oregon White Oak purchases to the Oak Accord, directly supporting oak restoration as a way to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.
Turns out, Ryan and I had been thinking about the same question: “How can using a type of wood protect the forests it comes from?”. Right now, the greatest threat to oak is not the logging of individual trees, but the conversion of oak habitat to other uses. The Oak Accord is currently working to build a local market for oak products that come from sustainably managed forests, creating financial value for landowners. This market could incentivize landowners to continue to manage oak forests and woodlands rather than convert them and lose critical oak habitat. By increasing the demand for oak and using the Oak Accord as a standard for well-managed forests that benefit habitat, carbon sequestration, and healthy soil – we think we can get there.
As we continue to find more resources, partnerships, and outreach for this effort, we now have one more piece to the puzzle helping us to bridge and connect the ecological significance and financial value of oak.
/ Photo by Bob Applegate